If you are like most people out there trying to lose weight, chances are you aren’t doing at least a few of these five weight loss strategies on a regular basis. Check your behaviors against this list and let me know how you measure up!
1. Dieting at Night – The key to weight loss is eating, believe it or not. You need to fuel your body with healthy food during the day, starting with breakfast and have a lighter dinner; then let the dieting begin right when you are winding down. I usually tell my clients to focus on “protein and produce” at dinner. Swap your salad at lunch for a tuna wrap (choose either light mayo or cheese not both) and have an entree salad at dinner.
2. Controlling Alcohol Intake – This is probably the #1 behavior I see with clients who are trying to lose weight when they first come in. They say they drink 1-2 times a week, but then their food journal shows 2 glasses of wine. When we talk about weekends they usually have 1-2 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. That’s almost half of the week people. That adds up to 600 extra calories that you aren’t getting from food, let alone the temptation to eat salty snacks with alcoholic drinks. If you take my advice, you’ll limit alcohol to 1-2 drinks once a week.
3. Sleeping 7-8 hours most nights of the week. Turn off the T.V. Stop surfing the ‘net. You have to get sleep if you want to lose weight. Sleep allows you to recover from your workouts (that you ARE doing because you know you will do better with long term weight loss if you exercise.) Sleep also keeps your hormone balance in check, especially leptin and ghrelin. According to researchers at Stanford, people with short sleep (5 hours a night) have reduced leptin (thin hormone) and elevated ghrelin (hunger hormone). Based on what the hormones do in the body, the researchers claimed the differences in leptin and ghrelin are likely to increase appetite, possibly explaining the increased BMI observed with short sleep duration.
4. Fitting in the Veggies. It might sound old, but you need your veggies. The fiber makes them filling. The low calories makes them “figure friendly,” the phytochemicals and antioxidants help prevent diseases (like many cancers), and they help repair blood vessel damage. Try these fun ways to have veggie “finger foods” on the go:
- celery and almond butter
- avocado stuffed cherry tomatoes
- blanched broccoli with lemon
- prosciutto wrapped asparagus
All these choices make great snacks! Personally, I recommend that people keep carbs as low as possible at snacks and save them for meal times.
5. Eating Mindfully. Mindfulness is a state of being aware, ‘in the moment,’ present, and engaged. Rarely do we spend time in the day being truly mindful, especially when it comes to food. It’s amazing the mental and emotional transformation that happens when people take back the pleasure of eating. When you choose nourishing foods and take your time to enjoy them bite-by-bite, you engage all your senses – not just “taste.” Notice the colors, smell the aroma, appreciate your food choice for all the ways it is going to give health to your body.
All of a sudden, the drive-through window and 100-calorie packs become less appealing. If you make one change, try making each meal last 30 minutes and spend the first five engaging all your senses except taste. When eating mindfully, you will notice that it gets easier to choose healthy from the start and stop eating when you feel satisfied not when the plate is clear.